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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Will SF Pride Deliver a Message to Pelosi on Sunday?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 11:38 AM

click to enlarge 0_61_010407_pelosi_gavel.jpg
The town hall meeting held in San Francisco last week may be the first of a series of contractions that give birth to a litter of community forums where the general public can meet with the advocacy groups and political leadership that represent the LGBT community.   

Even though the meeting was arranged with one week's notice, a discernible interest in regular engagement was evident. 

Two main steps were taken: The SF Pride Committee will be addressed regarding the speech to be delivered from Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi during the Pride festivities, and a decision was made to plan another town hall meeting (at a place TBA on July 22).   

SF Pride's executive director, Amy Andre and board president, Mikayla Connell, met with Michael Petrelis, Stephen Zollman, and myself on Monday afternoon. We wanted to know how Pelosi would address a captive audience of hundreds of thousands of LGBT San Franciscans when she has produced little for our community.   

Neither Andre nor Connell were unsympathetic. In fact, they agreed to accept some notes from us that Connell could use when she introduces Pelosi's speech on Sunday. Connell admits that she has only recently gotten over the betrayal she felt from 2007 when transgender protections were stripped from the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that passed the House (courtesy of Pelosi). That bill died in the Senate. The gender-inclusive language has been put back in, but now Pelosi is saying we must wait before she pushes for it again.   

We will know on Sunday whether SF Pride can find a way to make Pelosi's speech a call to action for our community and not just an opportunity for Madam Speaker to have our attention and votes and support with no strings attached.    

We might not be so prickly about being graced with the presence of Pelosi's talking head if we had the privilege of hearing regularly from her or her people. That is the point of the town hall organizing that is taking place -- and the interest isn't reserved to San Francisco.    

San Jose also conducted a community open door meeting on June 17.  The event was planned by Marriage Equality Silicon Valley (MESV) as a way for the community to hear directly from people who had attended the closing arguments at the Prop. 8 trial in San Francisco. About 20 people attended, including Cleve Jones, according to Gloria Nieto. This meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting; another one is planned to discuss a response to the decision in the Prop. 8 trial. It appears that LGBT community members are interested in hearing from their (self-appointed and otherwise) leaders about issues that are not being resolved.   

The question being asked is twofold: When will LGBT people have the full citizenship status all other Americans enjoy, and who is serious about making that day arrive?   

There was some excitement earlier this year that a new organization, GetEqual, was bringing us closer to that day, but in the past month the bloom has started to fall off the rose. Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEqual, was the featured community representative at the San Francisco meeting, about one third of which was spent in an occasionally intense Q&A with her. She didn't necessarily offer any additional information that wasn't revealed in an article from The Advocate a few weeks ago. Her interest in attending precipitated the quick turnaround between the conception of the town hall and the actual meeting. It was an opportunity that produced little news in terms of the GetEqual story, but it did provide a handful of San Franciscans the impetus to push for more meetings, as our compatriots in San Jose are doing.   

The leaders of the LGBT social justice Ponzi scheme and their Democratic Party cohorts want to maintain a firm grip on the wheel of the car that drives our issues. We need to start being loud and boisterous backseat drivers to get the attention of the people who are driving this car to nowhere.

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Patrick Connors


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